For business leaders to be effective in providing their organizations with a set of goals and pushing their companies forward, they need to know that they have their staff members’ full support. As chief information officers may come to find, the only way that they can guarantee their representatives have their backs is by ensuring these employees have faith in CIOs’ capabilities as authority figures, in addition to believing in the mission envisioned by their executives. After earning their staff members’ trust, upper-level tech professionals may have a more unified, collaborative team of representatives all working together toward a common IT objective.
Machinery isn’t everything
A share of CIOs may think about their success as an IT department as something purely dependent on their companies’ degree of efficiency and the level of sophistication in terms of their solutions. However, they should step out of a completely technical standpoint for a second so that they can assess the manpower they have on hand to see how effectively their plans are being carried out and their tools are being employed. If these elements are lacking due to low morale or even uncertainty when it comes to how they view management, then it may be time for CIOs to launch initiatives to boost employee trust.
“Trust may be the most important component of a leader’s effectiveness,” said Gordon Wishon, CIO of Arizona State University, according to CIO Magazine. “Without trust, employees simply won’t put forth their best efforts. Without the trust of peers and senior staff, an executive will find it much more challenging to get their cooperation when needed.”
Consistent communication is key
Although some business leaders may feel that heading on company retreats and doing a couple of trust falls may do the trick, IT professionals should think about day-to-day tasks that they can do on a regular basis to foster faith throughout their teams. For instance, one of the easiest yet most effective ways to win over employees’ trust is through communication.
“I engage with my team by listening to them describe their motivations, needs and aspirations,” explained Niraj Jetly, CIO and COO at NutriSavings, according to CIO Magazine. “I invite them to paint the vision of tomorrow and solicit feedback on where they would like to contribute in the team’s success. I also share with them our regular business goals and encourage them to ask questions to attempt and engage in conversations. I make attempts to expose them to facets of business that they would not see or comprehend otherwise. Based on these exercises, I am able to outline individualized pathways of success based on their preferences.”
There is no doubt that holding group or one-on-one meetings with staff members will allow CIOs and employees to get to know one another – not to mention, allow people to get on the same page and reach an understanding of everyone’s business goals. You can go over what you expect of each role within your department, making sure that their responsibilities are articulated in a clear and public manner. This way, you can be certain that all parties know the obligations they have to fulfill, and IT departments may then be able to work like clockwork.
Pinpoint most promising prospects
It also is during these discussions that tech executives can zoom in on certain representatives who appear to be the most promising when it comes to helping CIOs implement new tactics and make progress toward their objectives. Pamela Rucker, chair of the CIO Executive Council’s Executive Women in IT, advised that tech professionals pinpoint key employees within their departments from early on, forming close bonds with these select representatives to promote strength within their staffs. This is especially vital when CIOs are dealing with middle-management, as these employees will serve as a liaison between upper-level IT executives and the rest of their teams. For this reason, execs should identify the representatives who would be most successful at working toward the vision CIOs have for their departments and companies in general.
“During these sessions it would be a good idea to pay special attention to their expectations, prior challenges or successes from this role,” said Jetly. “Ask for their suggestions on short-, medium- and long-term focus of your position. After every session, assess if your evaluation of their role matches the ‘published organizational structure.’”